How to Transplant Grass: A Step by Step Guide

How to Transplant Grass: A Step by Step Guide

A home with lush green lawn grasses is a pleasant sight to see.  But other than beautifying our surroundings, grasses provide a whole lot of benefits. Lawn grasses, for example, can improve air and groundwater quality, generate ample amounts of life-supporting oxygen, trap hazardous carbon dioxide, reduce soil erosion, and a lot more.

Having said that, you’re probably now in the mood to add some grass to your yard. Instead of buying readily packed grass sods in the market, you can simply dig a few strips of grass from your yard and transplant them to the bare spots.

Transplanting grass is certainly doable, but it takes careful planning to foster their growth after you remove and transport them to another location.

Before getting started, you’ll need to consider several factors like the type of grass you want to transplant, the tools you’ll use for replanting, the ideal season, as well as the best time of day for the transplantation.

Let’s discuss these factors a bit.

Factors to Consider Before Transplanting Grass

As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t difficult to transplant grass to another location in your yard, but you’ll need to plan and consider the following factors to make your transplanted grasses flourish in the new area:

  1. Type of grass
    First thing to consider is the type of grass you use in your yard. There are around 12,000 species of grass, and out of these species are the types of grass that are commonly used for a garden or yard.There are two main categories of grasses according to the season, namely warm-season grasses and cold-season grasses.
    Warm-season grasses start to grow around mid to late spring or early summer. Some of the most popular warm-season grasses include:

    • Bahiagrass
    • Bermudagrass
    • Buffalo grass
    • Carpetgrass
    • Centipede grass
    • Augustine grass
    • Zoysiagrass

    On the other hand, cool-season grasses often grow in spring before temperatures become too hot and in the fall when temperatures cool down. They generally survive and maintain good color through the summer but dry out when it is extremely hot. Examples of cool-season types of grass include:

    • Creeping bentgrass
    • Creeping red fescue
    • Kentucky bluegrass
    • Perennial ryegrass
    • Annual ryegrass
    • Tall fescue

    You can choose the type of grass you want to grow in your lawn, depending on the season,  and this leads us to the second consideration.

  2. Proper climate or season
    Timing plays a huge role when transferring your grass around your yard. The best climate for grass transplanting is usually spring or fall before most grasses hit their peak of the growing season.
  3. Best time of the day
    Regardless of the type of grass you want to have in your yard, it is important to know when to grow and transplant them. The besttime of day to transplant grass is early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or on a cloudy day to allow grasses to settle and to prevent the plants from wilting or drying out.

In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through the process of transplanting grass and the proper way to nurture them so it will grow vigorously after the transplantation.

Read on.

Checklist for Transplanting Grass

To get started, you’ll need to prepare the following tools:

  • A shovel to dig up sods and move them around with ease
  • Hose/ water sprinkle to water the transplanted grass
  • A tiller to break up compacted soil and loosens the area for transplanting grass
  • Fertilizer to boost the dead dirt (this is optional)
  • A garden rake to level out the soil after tilling it
  • A lawn roller (optional) to aid in the compaction of the sodded grass to the soil.
  • Most importantly, strips of grass sods to be transplanted.

Once you have the necessary tools, you can now begin the process. Here are the following steps:

Step by step instructions of transplanting grass

Step by step instructions of transplanting grass

1. Prepare the area

Prepare the area
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

You need to prepare the soil thoroughly.  To do this,  till the soil to about 4″ to 6″ deep to kill all grass and weeds to the roots on the pre-existing lawn. Then, rake the soil to eliminate all dirt or debris like plant roots, rocks, or soil clods. You also need to loosen compact soil using the rake to address drainage problems in the area.

2. Add fertilizer or amend the soil, if necessary

Add fertilizer or amend the soil, if necessary
Schultz brand Canadian Sphagnum peat moss, a common soil amendment. Image by Ragesoss from Wikimedia Commons.

The necessity of using fertilizers would depend on the type of soil you have in your yard. If you have clay or sandy soils, you’ll need to amend the soil by adding the necessary manure or compost, or any organic or commercial products suitable to your soil.

You also may add fertilizer to enrich your soil with nitrogen and other essential nutrients that clay or sandy soils normally lack.

3. Choose the spot where you want to dig up grass

Choose the spot where you want to dig up grass
Photo by form PxHere

Once the soil is settled, you can start digging a portion of your lawn grass that you want to move to another area. Here, you can work in small strips about the size of your shovel’s width.

The first thing to do is to create a line on both sides so you can remove a whole strip completely and evenly. Afterward, push the shovel or spade about 3 to 4 inches down into the ground until the roots and a thin layer of soil are detached from the ground. Gently lift the grass from beneath and keep on pushing the shovel or spade until the entire strip is removed from the ground.

4. Roll up the strips and transport them to the desired spot

Roll up the strips and transport them to the desired spot
“Turf rolls”. Image by Dylan Garton from Pixabay

Once the whole strip of sod has been separated from the ground, roll it up lengthwise, so it looks like a thick carpet or cinnamon roll when you separate it from the ground. Then, place it in the new location. Repeat the same process for the rest of the strips you remove.

5. Lay each grass strip on the destined area

Lay each grass strip on the destined area
“Laying Sod & How to Prepare Soil for Sod” Video screencast courtesy of The Home Depot from YouTube

Unroll the strips on the bare ground. Make sure to evenly space them so they are not on top of each other. You can use a lawn roller (if you have one) over the newly transplanted grass to ensure that the roots are in contact with the existing soil.

Alternatively, you can add more pressure to the ground when step on it to combine the sod with the existing soil.

6. Keep it well watered

Keep it well watered
“How to Install Sod | A DIY Guide” Video screencast courtesy of
MrFixIt DIY from YouTube

The newly transplanted grass need to keep their moisture to enhance their growth, so make sure they are all drenched in water up to the original soil.

I suggest that you water them for 15 to 20 minutes on the first week of transplantation. You also need to water them twice a day when the weather is extremely hot.

Final Thoughts

If you want to add more green to your yard, you don’t have to start from scratch and spend some cash to buy new grass seeds because you can grow grass in your yard yourself by transplanting them. It definitely requires some effort on your part considering all the heavy lifting you’ll do such as tilling the land and working on the grass sods. However, following the above-mentioned steps will ensure the healthy, vibrant growth of your lawn grass in the long run.

​How has this tutorial helped you? Have you ever tried transplanting grass? How was the experience?  If you have any thoughts, suggestions or a gardening story you would like to share, please write them down in the comments section. Feel free to share this article with your friends who you feel also want to learn how to transplant grass.

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